Explore the common ground of balancing artistic creation and academics with Miwa Matreyek, director, animator and designer; Vikram Divecha, artist, educator and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at NYUAD as they delve into their own experiences of dualities with their artistry and academia.


Miwa Matreyek

Miwa Matreyek is an animator, designer, and performer currently based in Vancouver BC. She has been an internationally touring independent artist since 2010. Coming from a background in animation, Miwa Matreyek creates live, staged performances where she interacts with her animations as a shadow silhouette, at the intersection of cinematic and theatrical, fantastical and tangible, illusionistic and physical. Her work exists in a dreamlike visual space that makes invisible worlds visible, often weaving surreal and poetic narratives of conflict between man and nature. Her work exists both in the realm of the hand-made and digital. She travels as a one-woman show, often incorporating artist talks and workshops.

She performs her interdisciplinary shadow performances all around the world, including animation/film festivals, theater/performance festivals, art museums, science museums, and tech conferences. A few past presenters include TED, MoMA, SFMoMA, White Light Festival at Lincoln Center, Sundance New Frontier, Fusebox Festival, TBA festival, Future of Storytelling conference, ISEA conference, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and many more. She has also performed at many universities, including Texas A&M, Boston University, USC, UC San Diego, CalArts, University of Michigan, Western Carolina University, and more.

She received her MFA for Experimental Animation and Integrated Media from CalArts in 2007.

She is also a co-founder and core-collaborator of the multi-media theater company, Cloud Eye Control.

She is a recipient of the Sherwood Award (2016), Creative Capital Award (2013), Princess Grace Award (2007), and Princess Grace Foundation’s Special Projects award (2009, 2012, 2019). Cloud Eye Control is a recipient of several awards and grants including MAP fund (2013), National Theater Project grant by NEFA (2013), NPN Creation Fund (2008). Infinitely Yours won the Golden Nica for Computer Animation at Prix Ars Electronica (Austria) in 2020.

Vikram Divecha

Beirut-born, Mumbai-bred, Vikram Divecha is an artist and educator based in the UAE. He holds an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University and was a participant of the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study program. Divecha has exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale (National Pavilion UAE), 13th Sharjah Biennial, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. He currently teaches as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at the New York University Abu Dhabi. Divecha’s practice often has a focus on ‘found processes’ – a term he uses to describe the urban operations he investigates and deploys. Found processes depend on forces and capacities at work within existing commercial and social structures in place in the Gulf region – ranging from municipal gardening, wholesale exporting, railway scheduling, architectural services, demolition and more. By constantly negotiating with the city for available material, space and expertise Divecha challenges the nature and modes of artistic production – from shifting authorship to collaborators to opening up gaps within urban systems, the changes he initiates are capable of enduring well beyond the time/space framework of what is ‘exhibited’. Through these projects Divecha often returns to themes of transience, time, architecture, migration and labor. Despite interacting with largely invisible systems, his works have a definite materiality and formal rigour. Divecha’s engagements translate into conceptual interventions, public and participatory art, installations, moving image, photography, paintings and drawings. His recent proposal ‘Wall House’ (2022) envisions transforming demolition refuse into an archive.‘Dohrana’ (2021) continues Divecha’s sustained collaboration with Sharjah’s municipal gardeners, exploring Urdu poetry and choreography within UAE’s evergreen landscaping sights. Divecha recently made his curatorial debut with ‘184’ Nails (2022), which unpacks Hassan Sharif’s semi-system works in a non-static exhibition. ‘Veedu’ (2016) an ongoing project investigates the influence of Gulf remittances in Kerala through the lens of gender, masculinity and architecture.

Exhibitions include: Icon. Iconic., Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE (2022); El Dorado, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai (2022); Sharbaka: Entanglement/Attunement, 19 WSN, New York (2021); Love, Labour, Leisure, Goethe-Institut, Abu Dhabi (2021); Conjuncture, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York (2020); Second Hand, Jameel Arts Center, Dubai (2019); Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play, National Pavilion UAE, 57th Venice Biennale (2017); Tamawuj, Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017); Co-Lab, Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE (2017); Binary States India-UAE, Kochi (2016); DUST, Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (2015). Grants, commissions and scholarships: Sharjah Art Foundation; the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture; Alserkal Avenue; Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi; institut français; the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation; Warehouse421; Goethe-Institut. Residencies: Land Art Mongolia; Temporary Art Platform, Lebanon.